President Trump Signs Executive Order for Keystone Pipeline
President Trump signed a presidential permit on Friday authorizing the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The pipeline, which is is estimated to cost around $8 billion, is a project belonging to the TransCanada Corporation with facilities in both the United States and Canada. This new executive order circumvents earlier court rulings that blocked authorization by the State Department and impeded the project’s development.
The executive order was released by the White House on Friday, March 29, and grants the TransCanada Corp. permission to begin building a pipeline in Phillips County, Montana. It reads: “by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States of America, I hereby grant permission... to TransCanada Keystone Pipeline… to construct, connect, operate and maintain pipeline facilities at the international border of the United States and Canada at Phillips County, Montana, for the import of oil from Canada to the United States.”
A order regarding the pipeline that was issued in March of 2017 was invalidated by a Montana federal judge in November. The project also faces a lawsuit that was filed in December. President Trump’s most recent presidential permit essentially wipes the slate clean for TransCanada, revoking the March permit in favor of the new one. A spokesperson from the White House stated that the new permit “dispels any uncertainty. Specifically, this permit reinforces, as should have been clear all along, that the Presidential Permit is indeed an exercise of Presidential authority - that is not subject to judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act.”
The pipeline was originally proposed over ten years ago with the goal of carrying crude oil from Canada to the United States Midwest. President Barack Obama had previously denied TransCanada a permit on the grounds that the project would contribute to global warming. The Trump administration first approved the project in 2017 and has continued to push for the construction of the pipeline through the recent executive order.
Russ Girling, president and chief executive officer of the TransCanada Corp. commended the action, saying that “President Trump has been clear that he wants to create jobs and advance US energy security and the Keystone XL pipeline does both of those things.”
The project faces staunch opposition from conservationists- Anthony Swift, director of the Canada project at the Natural Resources Defense Council said that “the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline was a bad idea from day one and it remains a terrible idea. If built, it would threaten our land, our drinking water, and our communities from Montana and Nebraska to the Gulf Coast."
US demand for crude oil has seen a recent increase due to the combined effects of sanctions and political crises in Venezuela, which have significantly decreased the amount of crude oil imported to the United States.